Am I Hedging My Bets? (Part 2)

2019-05-23T10:59:45-07:00 February 10th, 2017|Tags: , , |

Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

Last week, I discussed hedging strategies. Sometimes hedging is prudent. For example, some believe that gold is a good hedge against the risk of runaway inflation. Sometimes, however, hedging is not a good idea. For example, the Bible admonishes followers of Jesus to avoid hedging against the possibility that he will let us down.

Today, I will argue that those who have not yet entrusted their lives to Jesus are completely unhedged. By this, I mean that such individuals are consciously or unconsciously choosing to bet everything upon a strong belief in their personal capabilities, perhaps supplemented by good luck! And despite the magnitude of this bet, they often do not put a lot of thought into it.

In one of my LeaderImpact groups, we recently discussed the contrast between betting on self versus betting on a personal God who cares for us. In the course of our discussion, the topic of Pascal’s Wager came up. Blaise Pascal was a seventeenth-century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. From Wikipedia, Pascal’s Wager “posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or that he does not. Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).”

If you gain, you gain all. If you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then, without hesitation, that He exists. ~Blaise Pascal

As someone who did not consider the implicit bet I was making against the existence of God until my thirties, I relate to the situation of busy marketplace leaders focused on business success and its associated rewards. However, I did not appreciate that I was unconsciously betting everything on my abilities and my understanding of a purposeful life. While I was quite focused on identifying and managing risk in the fulfillment of my corporate responsibilities, I was giving it little thought in my personal life.

I am forever grateful that a moment of achievement (promotion) finally caused me to question the purpose of my life. This moment precipitated a search that eventually culminated in my encounter with Jesus. I wish LeaderImpact had existed at that time as I could have benefited greatly from being in a group of marketplace peers in which I could explore what I have come to believe are the most important questions in life.

To paraphrase the words of a marketplace leader who joined one of our LeaderImpact groups within the last year, “I am not sure I have time for this but maybe I should make time.” In the context of Pascal’s Wager, joining one of our groups could be the best decision of your life. Please connect with us to test drive a professional peer group.

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.